The first version of Mac OS X was Mac OS X Server 1.0.Mac OS X Server 1.0 – 1.2v3 were based on Rhapsody, a hybrid of OPENSTEP from NeXT Computer and Mac OS 8.5.1.The GUI looked like a mixture of Mac OS 8's Platinum appearance with OPENSTEP's NeXT-based interface. As of Python 3.7.0, 3.6.8, and 2.7.16, all current Python installers for macOS downloadable from supply their own private copies of Tcl/Tk 8.6.8. They do not look for or use any third-party or system copies of Tcl/Tk. This is an Aqua Cocoa Tk.


If you are using a Python from any current python.orgPython installer for macOS (3.9.0+, 3.8.0+, or 3.7.2+),no further action is needed to use IDLE or tkinter.A built-in version of Tcl/Tk 8.6 will be used.

If you are using macOS 10.6 or later, the Apple-suppliedTcl/Tk 8.5 has serious bugs that can cause application crashes.If you wish to use IDLE or Tkinter, do not use the Apple-suppliedPythons. Instead, install and use a newer version of Pythonfrom or a third-party distributor that supplies orlinks with a newer version of Tcl/Tk.

Python's integrated development environment,IDLE, and thetkinter GUI toolkitit uses, depend on the Tk GUI toolkit which isnot part of Python itself. For best results, it is important that theproper release of Tcl/Tk is installed on your machine.For recent Python installers for macOS downloadable from this website,here is a summary of current recommendations followed by more detailedinformation.

3.9.0,3.8.6,3.7.9all10.9 to10.15built-in8.6.8

There are currently three major variants of Tk in common use on macOS:

Aqua Cocoa Tk
A newer native implementation availableas a universal 64-bit and 32-bit binary. This variant is the standard nativemacOS variant in Tk 8.6 and as of Tk 8.5.13. Aqua Cocoa support wasbackported to Tk 8.5 (prior to 8.5.13) and released by Apple starting with macOS 10.6and by ActiveState starting with their release.
Aqua Carbon Tk
Because it is implemented with older macOS Carbon interfaces, it isonly available as a 32-bit binary (usually for Intel and PowerPCprocessors). Aqua Carbon Tk 8.4 is included with macOS releases 10.4through 10.14 and is also available from ActiveState. Aqua Carbon variantsof Tk 8.5 had been available as an ActiveState Community Download priorto ActiveTcl 8.5.9. As of 8.5.13, the Tk project no longer supportsCarbon builds of Tk 8.5. 32-bit-only Python installers downloadablefrom this website for older Python releases were linked with Aqua CarbonTk 8.4.
X11 Tk
The traditional platform-independent UNIX Tk implementation whichrequires an X11 server, such as the Apple available as anoptional component in older macOS releases or from third-partydistributors. 64-bit and32-bit binaries can be built. While the Python installers downloadablefrom this website do not support X11 Tk, other distributors ofPython for macOS may do so.

built-in 8.6.8

As of Python 3.7.0, 3.6.8, and 2.7.16, all current Python installers for macOSdownloadable from supplytheir own private copies of Tcl/Tk 8.6.8. They do not look for or use anythird-party or system copies of Tcl/Tk. This is an Aqua Cocoa Tk.


ActiveState provides binary distributions of Tcl/Tk which are upward compatiblewith and generally more up-to-date than those provided by Apple in macOSreleases. This version of Tcl/Tk includes fixes for some critical problemsthat you may encounter using tkinter or IDLE (see Apple 8.5.9 below).You can download an installer for this release fromthe ActiveState web site.Note that ActiveState Community Edition binaries are not open source andare covered by an ActiveState license. You should read the licensebefore downloading to verify that your usage complies with its terms of use.As of Python 3.7.0, 3.6.8, and 2.7.16, no current Python installers for macOSdownloadable from make use of this or any other external versionof Tcl/Tk.

This is an Aqua Cocoa Tk.

Apple 8.5.9

This release is included in macOS 10.7 through at least macOS 10.14.As of this writing,there are at least two known issues with Tk 8.5.9 thatare present in Apple 8.5.9 Tk but fixed in more recent upstream 8.5 releases.The more serious problem is an immediate crash in Tkwhen entering a composition character, like Option-u on a US keyboard.(This problem is documented asTk bug 2907388.)There is also the more general problem of input manager support for compositecharacters(Tk bug 3205153)which has also been fixed in more recent Tcl/Tk 8.5 releases.You can avoid these problems by using a current installeror by using a third-partydistribution of Python that does not use Apple 8.5.9 Tk.This is an Aqua Cocoa Tk.

Apple 8.5.7

This release is included in macOS 10.6. IDLE is known to hang or crashwhen used with the Apple 8.5.7 included in all versions of macOS 10.6.x.Because of this,we strongly recommend that you do not attempt to use Tkinter or IDLE withthe Apple-supplied Python 2.6.1 in 10.6. Instead, install a newer version ofPython that supports a newer version of Tk.This is an Aqua Cocoa Tk.


While Tcl and Tk areseparate frameworks and libraries, they are closely related and arenormally installed or updated simultaneously. You should notattempt to mix-and-match Tcl and Tk versions. References toa specific version of Tk assume the corresponding version ofTcl is installed as well.

The Python for macOS installers downloaded from this website dynamicallylink at runtime to Tcl/Tk macOS frameworks. The Tcl/Tk major version isdetermined when the installer is created and cannot be overridden.All current installers for Python 3.7.x, 3.6.x,and 2.7.x link to their own built-in Tcl/Tk 8.6 frameworks and do not useexternal Tcl/Tk frameworks so the rest of this section only applies tonon-current releases and, as such, no longer supported.

The Python 64-bit/32-bit macOS installers for Python 3.6.x andand 2.7.x dynamically link to Tcl/Tk 8.5 frameworks.The dynamically linking occurs when tkinter (Python 3)or Tkinter (Python 2) is first imported (specifically, the internal_tkinter C extension module). By default, the macOS dynamic linkerlooks first in /Library/Frameworks for Tcl and Tk frameworks withthe proper major version. This is the standard location for third-partyor built from source frameworks, including the ActiveTcl releases.If frameworks of the proper major version are not found there,the dynamic linker looks for the same version in/System/Library/Frameworks, the location for Apple-suppliedframeworks shipped with macOS. (Note, you should normally not modifyor delete files in /System/Library.)

As is common on macOS, the installed Pythons and the Tcl and Tkframeworks are built to run on multiple CPU architectures (universalbinaries) and across multiple macOS levels (minimum deploymenttarget). For Python to be able to dynamically link with a particularTcl and Tk version, the available architectures in the Tcl/Tk frameworksmust include the architecture that Python is running in and theirminimum deployment target should be no greater than that of Python.

  • 2020-10-05 - updated for 3.9.0 and 3.8.6, remove 2.7
  • 2020-08-17 - updated for 3.7.9
  • 2020-07-20 - updated for 3.8.5
  • 2020-06-27 - updated for 3.7.8
  • 2020-05-14 - updated for 3.8.3
  • 2020-03-10 - updated for 3.8.2 and 3.7.7
  • 2019-12-19 - updated for 3.8.1, 3.7.6, and 2.7.17
  • 2019-10-15 - updated for 3.8.0, 3.7.5, and macOS 10.15
  • 2019-07-08 - updated for 3.7.4; 3.6.x is now security-fix-only
  • 2019-03-25 - updated for 3.7.3
  • 2019-03-03 - updated for 2.7.16
  • 2018-12-24 - updated for 3.7.2 and 3.6.8
  • 2018-10-20 - updated for 3.7.1, 3.6.7, and macOS 10.14
  • 2018-06-27 - updated for 3.7.0 and 3.6.6
  • 2018-05-30 - updated for 3.7.0b5
  • 2018-05-02 - updated for 3.7.0b4 and 2.7.15; removed 32-bit-only refs
  • 2018-03-29 - updated for 3.7.0b3 and 3.6.5
  • 2018-02-28 - updated for 3.7.0b2
  • 2018-01-31 - updated for 3.7.0b1 and 3.6.4
  • 2017-10-03 - updated for 3.6.3 and macOS 10.13
  • 2017-09-16 - updated for 2.7.14; removed 3.5.x
  • 2017-07-17 - updated for 3.6.2
  • 2017-03-21 - updated for 3.6.1 and (belatedly) 3.5.3
  • 2016-12-23 - updated for 3.6.0
  • 2016-12-17 - updated for 2.7.13
  • 2016-09-23 - updated for macOS 10.12
  • 2016-07-31 - updated for 3.5.2 and 2.7.12; removed 3.4.x
  • 2015-12-20 - updated for 3.4.4
  • 2015-12-06 - updated for 3.5.1, 2.7.11, and macOS 10.11
  • 2015-09-13 - updated for 3.5.0
  • 2015-05-23 - updated for 2.7.10 and ActiveTcl
  • 2015-02-23 - updated for 3.4.3
  • 2014-12-10 - updated for 2.7.9 and ActiveTcl
  • 2014-10-16 - updated for macOS 10.10
  • 2014-10-06 - updated for 3.4.2 and ActiveTcl
  • 2014-09-22 - updated for 3.4.2rc1
  • 2014-07-01 - updated for 2.7.8
  • 2014-06-01 - updated for 2.7.7; removed 2.7.6 and 3.3.5
  • 2014-05-18 - updated for 3.4.1 and 2.7.7rc1
  • 2014-03-16 - updated for 3.4.0 and 3.3.5
  • 2014-02-10 - updated for 3.3.4 and 3.4.0rc1
  • 2014-01-05 - updated for 3.4.0b2
  • 2013-11-24 - clarify that the ActiveState website still refers to
  • 2013-11-24 - removed built-in for 3.4.0b1, removed 3.3.2 and 2.7.5
  • 2013-11-10 - ActiveTcl; removed built-in for 3.3.3rc2 and 2.7.6.
  • 2013-10-27 - updated for 3.3.3rc1 and 2.7.6rc1 and their built-in 8.5.15.
  • 2013-10-24 - updated for macOS 10.9 and ActiveTcl 8.5.15, removed 3.2.5.
  • 2013-10-20 - updated for 3.4.0a4 and its built-in 8.5.15.
  • 2013-09-29 - updated for 3.4.0a3
  • 2013-09-09 - updated for 3.4.0a2 and its built-in 8.5.14.
  • 2013-08-03 - updated for 3.4.0a1 and ActiveTcl 8.4.20
  • 2013-05-18 - updated for ActiveTcl 8.5.14
  • 2013-05-15 - updated for 3.3.2, 2.7.5, and 3.2.5
  • 2013-04-06 - updated for 3.3.1, 2.7.4, and 3.2.4
  • 2012-12-26 - updated for ActiveTcl 8.5.13 and Issue 15853 patch installer
  • 2012-09-29 - updated for 3.3.0 final and reverted to ActiveTcl
  • 2012-08-02 - updated for ActiveTcl 8.5.12
  • 2012-07-28 - updated for macOS 10.8
  • 2012-04-11 - updated for 3.2.3 final and 2.7.3 final
  • 2012-03-18 - updated for 3.2.3rc2 and 2.7.3rc2
  • 2012-03-04 - updated for ActiveTcl, 3.2.3rc1, 2.7.3rc1, removed 3.1.4
  • 2011-11-12 - updated for ActiveTcl 8.5.11
  • 2011-09-04 - updated for 3.2.2 final
  • 2011-07-21 - updated for macOS 10.7 and ActiveTcl
  • 2011-07-09 - updated for 3.2.1 final and ActiveTcl 8.5.10
  • 2011-06-12 - updated for 2.7.2 final and 3.1.4 final
  • 2011-05-30 - updated for 3.2.1rc, 2.7.2rc, and 3.1.4rc
  • 2011-03-08 - add warnings and include details on how Python links with Tcl/Tk releases
  • 2011-02-20 - updated for 3.2 final
  • 2011-01-31 draft 1 - preliminary info for 3.2rc2
  • 2011-01-14 draft 0

Bob Savage <>

Python on a Macintosh running Mac OS X is in principle very similar to Python onany other Unix platform, but there are a number of additional features such asthe IDE and the Package Manager that are worth pointing out.

4.1. Getting and Installing MacPython¶


Mac OS X 10.8 comes with Python 2.7 pre-installed by Apple. If you wish, youare invited to install the most recent version of Python 3 from the Pythonwebsite ( A current “universal binary” build of Python,which runs natively on the Mac’s new Intel and legacy PPC CPU’s, is availablethere.

What you get after installing is a number of things:

  • A Python3.9 folder in your Applications folder. In hereyou find IDLE, the development environment that is a standard part of officialPython distributions; and PythonLauncher, which handles double-clicking Pythonscripts from the Finder.

  • A framework /Library/Frameworks/Python.framework, which includes thePython executable and libraries. The installer adds this location to your shellpath. To uninstall MacPython, you can simply remove these three things. Asymlink to the Python executable is placed in /usr/local/bin/.

The Apple-provided build of Python is installed in/System/Library/Frameworks/Python.framework and /usr/bin/python,respectively. You should never modify or delete these, as they areApple-controlled and are used by Apple- or third-party software. Remember thatif you choose to install a newer Python version from, you will havetwo different but functional Python installations on your computer, so it willbe important that your paths and usages are consistent with what you want to do.

IDLE includes a help menu that allows you to access Python documentation. If youare completely new to Python you should start reading the tutorial introductionin that document.

If you are familiar with Python on other Unix platforms you should read thesection on running Python scripts from the Unix shell.

4.1.1. How to run a Python script¶

Your best way to get started with Python on Mac OS X is through the IDLEintegrated development environment, see section The IDE and use the Help menuwhen the IDE is running.

If you want to run Python scripts from the Terminal window command line or fromthe Finder you first need an editor to create your script. Mac OS X comes with anumber of standard Unix command line editors, vim andemacs among them. If you want a more Mac-like editor,BBEdit or TextWrangler from Bare Bones Software (see are good choices, as isTextMate (see Other editors includeGvim ( and Aquamacs(

To run your script from the Terminal window you must make sure that/usr/local/bin is in your shell search path.

To run your script from the Finder you have two options:

  • Drag it to PythonLauncher

  • Select PythonLauncher as the default application to open yourscript (or any .py script) through the finder Info window and double-click it.PythonLauncher has various preferences to control how your script islaunched. Option-dragging allows you to change these for one invocation, or useits Preferences menu to change things globally.

4.1.2. Running scripts with a GUI¶

With older versions of Python, there is one Mac OS X quirk that you need to beaware of: programs that talk to the Aqua window manager (in other words,anything that has a GUI) need to be run in a special way. Use pythonwinstead of python to start such scripts.

With Python 3.9, you can use either python or pythonw.

Mac Os 8.6 Update Download

4.1.3. Configuration¶

Python on OS X honors all standard Unix environment variables such asPYTHONPATH, but setting these variables for programs started from theFinder is non-standard as the Finder does not read your .profile or.cshrc at startup. You need to create a file~/.MacOSX/environment.plist. See Apple’s Technical Document QA1067 fordetails.

For more information on installation Python packages in MacPython, see sectionInstalling Additional Python Packages.

4.2. The IDE¶

MacPython ships with the standard IDLE development environment. A goodintroduction to using IDLE can be found at

4.3. Installing Additional Python Packages¶

There are several methods to install additional Python packages:

  • Packages can be installed via the standard Python distutils mode (pythonsetup.pyinstall).

  • Many packages can also be installed via the setuptools extensionor pip wrapper, see Download el capitan.

4.4. GUI Programming on the Mac¶

There are several options for building GUI applications on the Mac with Python.

PyObjC is a Python binding to Apple’s Objective-C/Cocoa framework, which isthe foundation of most modern Mac development. Information on PyObjC isavailable from

The standard Python GUI toolkit is tkinter, based on the cross-platformTk toolkit ( An Aqua-native version of Tk is bundled with OSX by Apple, and the latest version can be downloaded and installed from; it can also be built from source.

wxPython is another popular cross-platform GUI toolkit that runs natively onMac OS X. Packages and documentation are available from

PyQt is another popular cross-platform GUI toolkit that runs natively on MacOS X. More information can be found at

Mac Os 8.6 Download Free

4.5. Distributing Python Applications on the Mac¶

The standard tool for deploying standalone Python applications on the Mac ispy2app. More information on installing and using py2app can be foundat

4.6. Other Resources¶

Mac Os 8.6 Download

The MacPython mailing list is an excellent support resource for Python users anddevelopers on the Mac:

Mac Os 8.6 Iso Download

Another useful resource is the MacPython wiki:

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